In 2011, the South gained their independence from the North, and Juba became the capital city of the newly birthed South Sudan.
But the decades of bombings and attacks left their infrastructure destroyed and South Sudanese believers isolated from the rest of the world.
The only way in to the area for so long was on a puddle-hopper airplane, so materials that could be brought in were limited. All this combined has been a great challenge to the South Sudanese church’s spiritual growth.
With no outside accountability, it has been difficult for the church not to bow to the culture around her.
It's not uncommon to find large segments of the church in Sudan existing for the benefit of the leader or pastor, who in turn promises his followers prosperity and refuge.
However, in the course of using his title as pastor for personal benefit, he often delivers only guilt and pressure.
This has severely maimed the Body of Christ in this area, rendering her almost powerless to declare and demonstrate truth into their culture.
Left to Right: Timothy Keller, Lazarus, Vicky, Steve Evers, Justin, Jahim Buli.
Logistics led to her and a couple travel partners being stranded in Mundri, where the ITMI team was sharing the SALT material. With nothing else to do, they stayed for the teaching.
SALT training in Mundri, South Sudan.
When Steve returned to South Sudan in 2012, he discovered that the SALT material he'd presented two years before had taken such root that Vicky, Lazarus (pictured above) and two others had planted a church, Revival and Fire Ministry, Juba, based on the principles!
Shared leadership - not one leader with a title.
No head pastor.
Humbly responsive to the Spirit.
This model was so starkly different from the standard African church, that people are drawn to this church by droves.
They had already funded a church building, which is unheard of for such a young church in a war-torn, impoverished, African country, but quickly grew out of it in 2 months time!
Vicky and Steve Evers with leaders from the Revival and Fire Ministry.(2016)
Vicky's church plant gathering on Easter Sunday in South Sudan.
Vicky prays with and counsels women from the church and the community each week.
The church is located in this Muslim neighborhood.
This dynamic church can’t even keep up with the awning space needed!
During Steve's visit he preached to the congregation under multi-colored awnings, which the church members pain-stalkingly erect each Sunday.
This church is a refreshing preview of God's Kingdom for the war-torn and weary people of South Sudan!
ITMI has had a long-standing relationship with a group of believers in South Sudan. Timothy Keller has been visiting them for more than a decade.
On one such visit, Steve met Vicky. She was caring for 11 orphans on no income, but impressed Steve with her contented heart, gracious spirit and trust in God.
“After you spoke…everything has changed in my life,” wrote one South Sudanese man, a believer who had lived in a family feud with his sister for 8 years. Their angst toward one another had grown so bitter and strong that…
ITMI’s Vicky Waraka saw her standing in the door of her house. She was 85 years old. Her face was tense, reflecting the hard life she led. Vicky’s gracious smile and greeting prompted a smile from the old woman. “Welcome,” she said, giving Vicky a chair. The elderly woman began to share…
His response was so unexpected that ITMI’s Director, Steve Evers, re-stated the question. “Would you like to be an ITMI partner?”Most people jump at such an offer. But not Lazarus.
Bullets whizzed through the air. Gunshots echoed around her. Hannah, due to give birth any day now, was frantically running away from the raucous.
What a whirlwind month it has been! John Jere was finally able to get the U. S. Embassy in Lusaka, Zambia to issue him an entry visa for the United States. That put us on high alert as we hastily rescheduled as many of his meetings as possible. The many meetings, both pre-scheduled by us and all those “God-scheduled” meetings have been an overwhelming blessing to John’s heart and soul.